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AT Pathways Visualizer

Custom configure and visualize your potential athletic training educational
pathways and professional opportunities

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you wish to pursue.
GENERALIST
SPECIALIST
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Generalist

Demonstrates appropriate clinical behaviors for unsupervised practice across the full spectrum of core and specialty competencies.

To provide you with the most accurate information, please select the degree level you intend to start at based on your experience.

Specialist

Demonstrates advanced practice behaviors across the full spectrum of core competencies and in their chosen area of specialty practice.

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AT Education Levels
Professional Education (Generalist)
Residency or Post-Professional Master's Education (Specialist)
Sub-Specialist (Fellowship)
Clinical Scholar (DAT) or Research Scholar (PhD)
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Professional Education (Generalist)

An individual who substantially demonstrates the milestones identified for an athletic trainer who has completed a CAATE accredited professional program and is ready for unsupervised practice.

Residency or Post-Professional Master's Education (Specialist)

An individual who demonstrates achievement of the milestones identified for an athletic trainer who has completed a CAATE accredited residency program in a specialty area of practice and exhibits behaviors consistent with an advanced practice clinician.

Sub-Specialist (Fellowship)

An individual who substantially demonstrates the milestones of an athletic trainer who has completed a fellowship within a subspecialty and exhibits performance consistent with a specialist within a subspecialty area of clinical practice (e.g., pediatric orthopaedics).

Scholar (Clinical DAT or Research PhD)

An individual who has advanced beyond the milestones that describe advanced practice, which reflect the competence of an expert or role model and can be used by programs, personnel supervisors, and individuals to facilitate further professional growth.

Explore the recommended/required competencies in your chosen degree level.

Click to view more information about each competency and the expectations based on your level of clinical practice.

Click "Next" when you are ready to move on.

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COMPETENCIES
CORE COMPETENCIES
Patient-Care and Procedural Skills
Medical Knowledge
Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
Interpersonal and Communication Skills
Professionalism
Systems-Based Practice
SPECIALTY COMPETENCIES
Prevention and Wellness
Urgent and Emergent Care
Primary Care
Orthopaedics
Rehabilitation
Behavioral Health
Pediatrics
Performance Enhancement
Please select a competency.

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Patient-Care and Procedural Skills

Athletic trainers must be able to provide patient care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.

Sub-competencies and milestone-based expectations:
  1. Patient-Centered Care:
    • Responds to each patient's unique characteristics, needs and goals
      • Applies best practice guidelines for professional interactions to negotiate differences related to a patient’s unique characteristics, needs and goals
      • Applies organizational policies and education to support respect for patient’s unique characteristics, needs and goals
    • Responds demonstrates humanism and cultural competency
      • Applies organizational policies and education to support the application of these principles in the practice of athletic training
      • Applies new knowledge in humanism and cultural competence
  2. Diagnosis and Management
    • Gathers and synthesizes essential and accurate information to define each patient's clinical problem(s).
      • Assist in the publication clinical case reports on unique clinical problems
      • Collaborates in practice-based research efforts to gather, aggregate, and synthesize patient data to enhance diagnostic and management efforts
      • Applies new knowledge pertaining to diagnoses and management
    • Physical Examination (systems-based examination adapted for health condition and contextual factors)
      • Efficiently performs a focused and prioritized physical examination accounting for rare conditions
      • Demonstrates streamlined physical examination for maximal cost-effectiveness and minimal patient burden
    • Diagnostic Evaluation (includes: Differential diagnosis of primary and secondary conditions, Appropriate studies (e.g., laboratory, imaging, neuropsychological), and Functional assessments)
      • Efficiently performs a focused and prioritized differential diagnosis accounting for rare conditions
      • Demonstrates streamlined testing for maximal cost-effectiveness and minimal patient burden
    • Develops and implements comprehensive management plan for each patient.
      • Applies customized, prioritized care plans for the most complex patients, incorporating diagnostic uncertainty and cost effectiveness principles
      • Role models and teaches exam skills for complex patients
    • Manages patients with progressive responsibility and independence.
      • Assists a clinical care leader in supervising multiple clinicians in a coordinated, team-based manner
      • Applies models of education that promote progressive responsibility and independence
Medical Knowledge

Athletic trainers must demonstrate knowledge of established and evolving biomedical, clinical, epidemiological and social-behavioral sciences, as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care.

Sub-competencies and milestone-based expectations:
  1. Medical Knowledge
    • Demonstrates medical knowledge of sufficient breadth and depth to practice athletic training.
      • Recognizes and demonstrates new medical knowledge
      • Assist in the development of clinical pathways for the delivery of high quality, affordable health care
      • Applies practice-based research to inform best practices for patient care
    • Knowledge of diagnostic testing and procedures.
      • Applies innovative diagnostic testing and procedures in athletic training
      • Pursues knowledge of new and emerging diagnostic tests and procedures
    • Basic sciences of Athletic Training (includes: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Anatomy, Physiology, Statistics, Research Design, Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Biomechanics and Pathomechanics, Exercise Physiology, Nutrition, Pharmacology)
      • Recognizes and demonstrates new basic science knowledge
      • Pursues innovation from the basic sciences to advance athletic training
      • Demonstrates the scientific socioeconomic and behavioral knowledge required to successfully incorporate basic and clinical science to diagnose and treat uncommon, ambiguous, and complex conditions
Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

Athletic trainers must demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate their care of patients, to appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and to continuously improve patient care based on constant self-evaluation and life-long learning.

Sub-competencies and milestone-based expectations:
  1. Evidence-Based Practice
    • Locates, appraises, and assimilates evidence from scientific studies related to the patients' health problems.
      • Assists in implementation science to support the rapid dissemination and adoption of evidence into clinical practice
      • Applies evidence-based practice guidelines to improve system performance
      • Applies organizational policies and education to support the implementation of evidence-based practice
  2. Quality Improvement
    • Improves systems in which the athletic trainer provides care.
      • Models quality improvement of personal practice, as well as larger health systems or complex projects, using advanced methodologies and skill sets
      • Identifies and applies advance effective strategies for improving systems in which athletic trainers provide care
    • Learns and improves via performance audit.
      • Role models professional leadership in promoting performance audits for quality improvement using clinical data monitoring
      • Identifies and applies advance performance audits for quality improvement using clinical data monitoring
    • Monitors practice with a goal for improvement.
      • Role models professional leadership regarding self-reflective practice and monitoring practice performance
      • Identifies and applies advance self-reflective practice and monitoring practice performance
Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Athletic trainers must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families, and health professionals.

Sub-competencies and milestone-based expectations:
  1. Communicates effectively with patients and caregivers
    • Role models professional leadership in promoting effective communication with patients and caregivers
    • Identifies and applies advance effective communication with patients and caregivers
  2. Communicates effectively with patients, families, stakeholders, and the public.
    • Role models professional leadership in promoting effective communication with patients, families, stakeholders, and the public
    • Identifies and applies advance effective communication with patients, families, stakeholders, and the public
  3. Communicates effectively in interprofessional teams.
    • Role models professional leadership in promoting effective communication in interprofessional teams
    • Identifies and applies advance effective communication in interprofessional teams
  4. Health Information Technology
    • Appropriate utilization and completion of health records
      • Role models professional leadership in promoting the appropriate utilization and completion of health records
      • Identifies and applies advance appropriate utilization and completion of health records
Professionalism

Athletic trainers must demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities and an adherence to ethical principles.

Sub-competencies and milestone-based expectations:
  1. Completes a process of professionalization.
    • Role models professional leadership in promoting professionalism with patients and caregivers
    • Identifies and applies advance effective strategies for instilling professionalization in others
  2. Has professional and respectful interactions with patients, caregivers, members of the interprofessional team, and stakeholders.
    • Role models professional leadership in promoting professionalism with patients, caregivers, members of the interprofessional team, and stakeholders
    • Identifies and applies advance effective strategies for professionalism with patients, caregivers, members of the interprofessional team, and stakeholders
  3. Demonstrates professional conduct and accountability.
    • Exemplifies professional conduct placing the needs of each patient above self-interest
    • Role models the highest degree of professional conduct and accountability that others seek to emulate
  4. Exhibits integrity and ethical behavior in professional conduct.
    • Exemplifies integrity, honesty, accountability and professional conduct in all aspects of professional life
    • Role models professional leadership in promoting integrity and ethical behavior in professional conduct
    • Identifies and applies advance integrity and ethical behavior in professional conduct
Systems-Based Practice

Athletic trainers must demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care, as well as the ability to call effectively on other resources in the system to provide optimal health care.

Sub-competencies and milestone-based expectations:
  1. Patient Safety
    • Recognizes system error and advocates for system improvement
      • Role models professional leadership in promoting patient safety
      • Identifies and applies advance effective strategies for promoting patient safety
      • Role models identifying and preventing of medical error
    • Emphasizes patient safety
    • Assists in system improvement activities that seek to continuously anticipate, identify and prevent medical errors to improve patient safety in all practice settings, including the development, use, and promotion of patient care protocols and other tools
  2. Cost-Effectiveness
    • Identifies forces that impact the cost of health care, and advocates for, and practices cost-effective care.
      • Role models professional leadership in promoting cost-effective athletic training services
      • Identifies and applies advance cost-effective athletic training services
      • Applies best practice guidelines for the provision of cost-effective care
      • Applies organizational policies and education to support cost-effective care
  3. Interprofessional Teams
    • Works effectively within an interprofessional team.
      • Role models professional leadership in promoting safe and effective transitions of care within and across health delivery systems as part an interprofessional team
      • Identifies and applies advance interprofessional team-based care
  4. Advocates for individual and community health.
    • Role models professional leadership in community education and policy change to improve health of patient and communities
    • Identifies and applies advances knowledge in community education and policy change to improve health of patient and communities
  5. Health Information Technology
    • Utilizes technology to optimize communication.
      • Role models professional leadership in utilizing technology to optimize communication
      • Identifies and applies advanced knowledge in utilizing technology to optimize communication
Prevention and Wellness

Athletic trainers partner with the patient, family, and community to improve health through disease and injury prevention and health promotion.

Urgent and Emergent Care

Athletic trainers prioritize critical initial stabilization action, and mobilize hospital support services in the resuscitation of a critically ill or injured patient, reassess after stabilizing intervention, and care for acutely ill or injured patients in urgent and emergent situations and in all settings.

Primary Care

Athletic trainers provide integrated, accessible healthcare services as a clinician accountable for addressing a large majority of personal health care needs, developing a sustained partnership, and practicing in the context of family and community.

Orthopaedics

Athletic trainers must demonstrate the ability to conduct an appropriate diagnostic evaluation to define each patient’s clinical problem and to effectively manage increasingly complex patient problems.

Sub-competencies and milestone-based expectations:
  1. Diagnostic Evaluation
    • Gathers and synthesizes essential and accurate information (history, physical exam, lab work, imaging studies, neuropsychological testing, functional assessment measures, etc. to define each patient’s clinical problem(s).
      • Appropriately prioritizes the urgency and sequencing of diagnostic testing
      • Utilizes clusters of diagnostic tests and evaluates complex conditions with or without co-morbidities, and recognizes a-typical presentations
      • Recognizes appropriate differentials that include non-orthopaedic conditions that present as orthopaedic conditions
      • Recommends and interprets advanced orthopaedic imaging, such as MSUS, MRI, and CT
      • Educates others to improve their orthopaedic diagnostic evaluation knowledge and skills
  2. Management
    • Effectively manages patients with increasingly complex orthopaedic conditions.
      • Effectively manages complex orthopaedic conditions with or without co-morbidities
      • Develops customized, prioritized care plans for the most complex patients, incorporating diagnostic uncertainty and cost effectiveness principles
      • Patient advocate for maximizing long-term health-related quality of life (HRQOL)
      • Care plan extends beyond return to safe activity to maximize participation
      • Educates others to improve their orthopaedic management knowledge and skills
      • Demonstrates knowledge of controversies in operative and non-operative management of orthopaedic conditions
Rehabilitation

Athletic trainers provide healthcare services that help a person regain physical, mental, and/or cognitive (thinking and learning) abilities that have been lost or impaired as a result of disease, injury, or treatment. These rehabilitation services help people return to daily life and live in a normal or near-normal way.

Behavioral Health

Athletic trainers perform assessment, and recognition of conditions, that include, but are not limited to, suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety disorder, psychosis, mania, eating disorders, and attention deficit disorders, and effectively manage patients with behavioral health conditions.

Pediatrics

Athletic trainers gather and synthesizes essential and accurate information (history, physical exam, lab work, imaging studies, neuropsychological testing, and functional assessments) to define and manage each pediatric patient’s clinical problem(s).

Performance Enhancement

Athletic trainers develop, implement, and supervise a comprehensive program to maximize sport performance that is safe and specific to the client’s activity, including the selection and use of biometrics/physiological monitoring systems.

Career pathways and opportunities

Select the industry sector that interests you the most to view a customized list of possible career options based on your selected educational path.

The job titles will be listed on a spectrum of clinical-based to research-based.

Clinical: Clinical focus with emphasis on preparing clinical scholars.

Research: Research focus to generate/disseminate new knowledge.


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AT INDUSTRY SECTOR
Clinical Practice
Clinical Research
Lab Research
Industry Leadership
Education
Please select a sector.
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Clinical Practice

Athletic trainers working in clinical practice treat a wide variety of patients in a wide variety of settings, including college/university, secondary school, professional sports, clinical and hospital, performing arts, military, public safety, and occupational health. They spend the majority of their time providing athletic training services to patients and clients to optimize and enhance individual and population health and wellness.

Advanced Practice Doctorate Degree (DAT)

  • Clinical professional who desires to lead and further AT practice in the field
  • AT professor teaching from the perspective of a terminal clinical degree
  • Master’s student who would like to practice clinically as their next step professionally
  • Clinical practice-based research for industry
  • Government/military leadership
  • Professional sports teams
  • Physician practices
  • Clinical hospital settings as leadership

Clinical Research

Athletic trainers working in the clinical research industry are often employed by hospitals, physician group practices, or work in higher education as academic faculty members. They spend the majority of their time working collaboratively with patient care providers attempting to answer clinical questions to improve patient care services and, ultimately, patient outcomes.

Advanced Practice Doctorate Degree (DAT)

  • Clinical professional who desires to lead and further AT practice in the field
  • AT professor teaching from the perspective of a terminal clinical degree
  • Master’s student who would like to practice clinically as their next step professionally
  • Clinical practice-based research for industry
  • Government/military leadership
  • Professional sports teams
  • Physician practices
  • Clinical hospital settings as leadership

Lab Research

Athletic trainers working in lab research are most frequently employed by institutions of higher education as academic faculty members. They spend the majority of their time engaged in basic science or mechanistic research within a specific lab, often focused on exercise science, biomechanics, or motor control, examining hypotheses involving theoretical relationships.

Research Doctorate Degree (PHD)

  • Lab research positions in university settings furthering AT knowledge base
  • Lab Research within Industry
  • Professors teaching from the perspective of a terminal research degree
  • Master’s students within the industry who would like to research as their next step professionally
  • Research positions within a hospital setting
  • Research positions within medical practices

Industry Leadership

Athletic training industry leaders are present across all business sectors, including clinical practice, clinical research, lab research, and education. Industry leaders possess the ability to think long term, strategically, and to plan against larger issues, and use complex analytical and conceptual thinking abilities to leverage their education and experience to influence the direction of their organizations and the athletic training profession.

Advanced Practice Doctorate Degree (DAT)

  • Clinical professional who desires to lead and further AT practice in the field
  • AT professor teaching from the perspective of a terminal clinical degree
  • Master’s student who would like to practice clinically as their next step professionally
  • Clinical practice-based research for industry
  • Government/military leadership
  • Professional sports teams
  • Physician practices
  • Clinical hospital settings as leadership

Education

Athletic trainers working in education are most frequently employed by institutions of higher education as academic faculty members with varying degrees of emphasis on teaching and research. Depending on the type of institution (liberal arts vs. research intensive) and the nature of the program in which they are teaching (professional vs. post-professional), they spend varying majorities of their time teaching and advising students, conducting research/scholarship, and engaging in professional service.

Advanced Practice Doctorate Degree (DAT)

  • Clinical professional who desires to lead and further AT practice in the field
  • AT professor teaching from the perspective of a terminal clinical degree
  • Master’s student who would like to practice clinically as their next step professionally
  • Clinical practice-based research for industry
  • Government/military leadership
  • Professional sports teams
  • Physician practices
  • Clinical hospital settings as leadership

Explore your career pathways and opportunities further.

Please review and select an emphasis that you would be interested in pursuing in your chosen industry sector.

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SELECT AN EMPHASIS
Prevention & Wellness
Behavioral Health
Primary Care
Orthopaedics
Pediatrics
Rehabilitation
Urgent & Emergency Care
Performance Enhancement
Please select an emphasis.
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Prevention & Wellness

Athletic trainers partner with the patient, family, and community to improve health through disease and injury prevention and health promotion.

Behavioral Health

Athletic trainers perform assessment, and recognition of conditions, that include, but are not limited to, suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety disorder, psychosis, mania, eating disorders, and attention deficit disorders, and effectively manage patients with behavioral health conditions.

Primary Care

Athletic trainers provide integrated, accessible healthcare services as a clinician accountable for addressing a large majority of personal health care needs, developing a sustained partnership, and practicing in the context of family and community.

Orthopaedics

Athletic trainers must demonstrate the ability to conduct an appropriate diagnostic evaluation to define each patient’s clinical problem and to effectively manage increasingly complex patient problems.

Pediatrics

Athletic trainers gather and synthesizes essential and accurate information (history, physical exam, lab work, imaging studies, neuropsychological testing, and functional assessments) to define and manage each pediatric patient’s clinical problem(s).

Rehabilitation

Athletic trainers provide healthcare services that help a person regain physical, mental, and/or cognitive (thinking and learning) abilities that have been lost or impaired as a result of disease, injury, or treatment. These rehabilitation services help people return to daily life and live in a normal or near-normal way.

Urgent & Emergency Care

Athletic trainers prioritize critical initial stabilization action and mobilize hospital support services in the resuscitation of a critically ill or injured patient, reassess after stabilizing intervention, and care for acutely ill or injured patients in urgent and emergent situations and in all settings.

Performance Enhancement

Athletic trainers partner with the patient, family, and community to improve health through disease and injury prevention and health promotion.

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Here's your complete education path with an emphasis in
Generalist
(Professional Education)

An individual who substantially demonstrates the milestones identified for an athletic trainer who has completed a Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) accredited professional program and is ready for unsupervised practice.

Specialist
(Residency or Post-Professional Master's Education)

An individual who substantially demonstrates the milestones identified for an athletic trainer who has completed a CAATE accredited residency program in a specialty area of practice and exhibits performance consistent with an advanced practice clinician.

Professional Education
(Generalist)

An individual who substantially demonstrates the milestones identified for an athletic trainer who has completed a CAATE accredited professional program and is ready for unsupervised practice.

Residency or Post-Professional Master's Education
(Specialist)

An individual who demonstrates achievement of the milestones identified for an athletic trainer who has completed a CAATE accredited residency program in a specialty area of practice and exhibits behaviors consistent with an advanced practice clinician.

Sub-Specialist
(Fellowship)

An individual who substantially demonstrates the milestones of an athletic trainer who has completed a fellowship within a subspecialty and exhibits performance consistent with a specialist within a subspecialty area of clinical practice (e.g., pediatric orthopaedics).

Clinical Scholar (DAT) or Research Scholar (PhD)

An individual who has advanced beyond the milestones that describe advanced practice, which reflect the competence of an expert or role model and can be used by programs, personnel supervisors, and individuals to facilitate further professional growth.

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